Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Best PCIe Card: Under $90

Best Graphics Cards For The Money: February '10
By

Best PCI Express (PCIe) Card For ~$50:

Radeon HD 4650 (Check Prices)

Great 1280x1024 performance in most games, 1680x1050 with lowered detail

Radeon HD 4650
Codename: RV730
Process: 55nm
Universal Shaders: 320
Texture Units: 32
ROPs: 16
Memory Bus: 128-bit
Core Speed MHz: 600
Memory Speed MHz: 400 (800 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 10.1/SM 4.1

You will not find a card that packs more punch than ATI's Radeon HD 4650 under the alluring $50 price point. With solid stock performance and an overclockable GPU, this card is an excellent starting point for our list of recommendations, and a wholly worthwhile upgrade if you're currently stuck using a motherboard limited to integrated graphics.

Best PCI Express (PCIe) Card For ~$70:

Radeon HD 4670 (Check Prices)

Good 1680x1050 performance in most games

Radeon HD 4670
Codename: RV730
Process: 55nm
Universal Shaders: 320
Texture Units: 32
ROPs: 16
Memory Bus: 128-bit
Core Speed MHz: 750
Memory Speed MHz: 1,000 (2,000 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 10.1/SM 4.1

The Radeon HD 4670 continues to offer great performance and very low power usage, making this product an impressive performer all-around. Its accelerated clock rates and modestly-higher price tag are worth considering if you originally had your eye on the Radeon HD 4650.

It's worth noting that this card's closest competitor, the GeForce 9600 GSO, isn't making a valid showing. The GeForce 9600 GSOs we could find for sale were crippled 48 shader/128-bit memory versions of the card. The versions we'd want to see should be equipped with 48 shaders and a 256-bit memory bus, or alternatively 96 shaders and 128-bit memory bus.

Best PCI Express (PCIe) Card For ~$80:

GeForce 9600 GT (Check Prices)

Great 1680x1050 performance in most games, 1920x1200 in most games with lowered detail

GeForce 9600 GT
Codename: G94
Process: 65nm
Universal Shaders: 64
Texture Units: 32
ROPs: 16
Memory Bus: 256-bit
Core Speed MHz: 650
Memory Speed MHz: 900 (1,800 effective)
DirectX/Shader Model: DX 10/SM 4.0

The GeForce 9600 GT is a great performer, thanks in part to its high-end 256-bit memory interface and speedy DDR3 memory. It's a great choice on an $80 budget, even if the architecture on which it centers is showing its age.

While the GeForce GT 240 is beginning to encroach on this card's price territory, the 9600 GT remains a bit faster than even the GDDR5 version of the newer card, and its recommendation remains secure for the time being. It remains to be seen whether the new Radeon HD 5670 will drop in price to give the 9600 GT some real competition.

React To This Article